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Net migration hits new record in May

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 22/06/2017 Sophie Boot

File © Getty File New Zealand annual net migration hit another record in May driven by foreign immigrants, with most coming from China, the UK and Australia.

Annual net migration reached 72,000 in the year to May 31 versus 68,400 in the same period a year earlier, Statistics New Zealand said.

Three-quarters of the 130,400 migrant arrivals were non-New Zealand citizens, with New Zealanders leaving and returning to the country almost balancing each other out in the last year.

There has been a net migration gain of 73,000 non-New Zealand citizens in the past year.

New Zealand has been experiencing record levels of net migration in recent years as economic growth outpaced Australia's, meaning fewer locals moved across the Tasman.

Rising immigration is shaping up to be a key election issue as it strains the country's infrastructure and has been blamed for inflating property markets.

Chinese citizens accounted for 12 per cent of migrant arrivals in the year, while 10 per cent each came from the UK and Australia.

Annual migrant arrivals from India dropped 31 per cent to 9200 in the year, with a 40 per cent drop in annual student visas granted to Indian citizens, which was offset by gains from the UK and South Africa.

China continued to make up the biggest source of migrants on residence visas, rising 18 per cent to 3419 in the year to the end of May, ahead of the total residence visa gain of 11 per cent to 16,700.

There was a 14 per cent increase in work visas granted in the year, to 44,500, while student visas dropped 14 per cent to 23,700 and NZ and Australian citizen arrivals rose 4 per cent to 38,300.

Short-term visitor arrivals, which include tourists, people visiting family and friends and people travelling for work, reached 3.6 million in the year ended May 31, up 10 per cent from a year earlier and a new annual record, Stats NZ said.

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